Urban Plein Air at The Market Artist Profiles

About Urban Plein Air at The Market

THE BLOCKS in partnership with the Rio Grande Winter Market (Downtown SLC Farmers Market) were excited to bring back our Urban Plein Air event! During the month of March, five artists painted scenes of the Farmers Market at the historic Rio Grande Train Depot. Market-lovers and art-lovers alike got the unique opportunity to support local artists and our local food community.

Read about each of the artists below and stay tuned to see the finished artwork!

Craig Nielsen

My art celebrates the marks people make and the journeys people take. As children, we scribble for the joy of making the marks. As we age we learn how to turn our scribbles into beautiful things and communicate with a larger world. But we forget the act of making the mark is equally beautiful and human. My goal is to use the urgent marks I never grew out of to convey beauty as a moment in between roads traveled and not; To comment on both the wandering of the feet and the clock. And to convey emotion and depth through the unfinished, impatient markings of an ever two-year-old.

My Urban Plein Air experience

I haven’t done a lot of plein air painting so the experience painting out in the open in itself was a treat. Admittedly having people look at exceptionally unfinished work is rather mortifying. Everyone (event staff, market vendors, the other artists, and strangers on the street) was so kind, however, and it was especially wonderful to get to share the process of making work as opposed to just showing a finished piece. I loved it when the kids walking past would make their parents stop. The parents were always so sure that it would somehow interrupt me and were very apologetic. The kids, on the other hand, were just fiercely and unabashedly curious. I enjoy the authenticity in moments like that and loved the way people commented on how connected they felt to my work.

Heather Olsen

I love to paint the “human condition” and the interactions we have living together in this world. My paintings capture the emotion and energy of the scene, and I do this by using certain color palettes and gestural, expressive brushstrokes.  Rather than being frozen in time, my paintings are more of a memory of the scene and a document of the various things going on during that time. 

My Urban Plein Air experience

Painting plein air in THE BLOCKS was simply incredible. The scenery of the mountains and historic buildings were amazing and the marketplace provided wonderful subjects to paint. Everyone was so friendly! As I was painting, people of all ages would come up to me and start talking about my artwork and how they too love to paint or draw. Or they would talk about how original artwork reminds them of their deceased parent who loved art. It became something we had in common and suddenly this stranger and I were talking like old friends. The supportive vibe of the whole market was incredible to me. The vendors were all friends, many of the customers were regulars and knew everyone by name. Everyone was happy and kind. With local food trucks, farmers, musicians and artists, it truly felt like utopia. I am so glad I was able to be a part of it and create lasting memories of this event through my paintings.

View more of Heather’s work here.

Charles Pfaff

As an artist I aim to represent life in the ever-changing flow of light and form. The way light and our personal picture planes interact are different for every individual, yet we can all relate to similar experiences. The patterns and designs created by life itself can rival that of any master architect. I am most drawn towards formal elements, but I don’t think pure form is enough to create the sense of nostalgia I wish to invoke in the viewer.  Having a narrative is also very important for my work.  All artists have a unique perspective and signature. Some artists’ work may be more easily identified than others, but that is not the point of expression.  The application of a medium is a meaningful aspect of my artwork.

The quality of paint and mark-making holds a special meaning to the work itself. Comparing mark-making to the subtle nuances in handwriting. These elements add another level of insight to my ego and story. I still work for the improvement of my technique. This will probably be ongoing for the rest of my life or at least my career. I have been searching for a voice and felt pressure to stand apart. Now I have decided to just make the kind of work I want and not worry about relevance.

My Urban Plein Air experience

My experience at the Downtown Winter Farmer’s Market was wonderful. I felt fortunate to be apart of the event “Urban Plein Air at the Market”. I met with other artists who I look forward to linking up with in the future. I loved getting to paint the vendors and surrounding areas of the market. I believe it is important to support local farmers and businesses so I was definitely in my element. I even bought some delicious mushrooms.

Allyson Terry

Allyson Terry is a recent Arts graduate from Dixie State University and has a passion for concept design and illustration.  Allyson grew up loving to tell stories. She loved to write and quickly found that art and animation created the same effect of immersing readers and viewers into a world separate from their own. Art became her new vessel for telling stories, and with that challenge, Allyson’s aim has been to put as much life, passion, and creativity into her art in hopes of inspiring others to find their own passions.  

Currently, Allyson is pursuing a second passion of hers as well: teaching as an instructor at an elementary charter school.  Through teaching, Allyson hopes to keep herself constantly open to learning new things and continually improving her artistic abilities.

My Urban Plein Air experience

As my first official Plein Air experience, the farmer’s market provided a lot of inspiration and motivation.  The people were unique and so natural in the environment that they made excellent subjects for painting and drawing.  It was a lot of fun, and even though it was quite windy and cold, I quickly got sucked into the atmosphere of the painting and the vendors that I was hardly swayed from it.  If anything, I’m excited to explore more Plein Air painting and more work for Salt Lake City! Additionally, the people working for THE BLOCKS who arranged everything and set it up were incredibly helpful and accommodating, making the entire experience really special and pleasant.

Trish Melander

Salt Lake City embodies opposites: wide streets in a bustling downtown and narrow streets in quiet century-old bungalows; a regional center for commerce with successful small farmers and artisans; sometimes even sun, snow, thunder and hale on the same day. We prosper, nestled in a semi-arid dry lake bed with brilliant sun and stinky inversions. Painting outdoors in Utah provides me with constant contrast between light and shadow, neatly stacked luxury condos and crumbling sandstone brick, open fields and backed up freeways. It stands both distant and familiar to each of us.

My Urban Plein Air experience

I was honored to share my brush with several small artists who were shopping at the farmer’s market on a cold Saturday. It was fantastic to stand in the middle of the market and observe the people swirling around, tasting bread, drinking fresh juice and stuffing bags with microgreens and freshly laid eggs. I’ve been shopping at the downtown farmer’s market for several years and it was easy to feel part of the local artisan community that is a standard in both summer and winter in Salt Lake City.

Soon, you’ll be able to purchase these works… stay tuned!